Our Preschool Leadership
OFJCC Leslie Family Preschool Director
Ilana Gelemovich (she/her/hers) is the Director of the Leslie Family Preschool at the Oshman Family JCC. Raised in Mexico City, she has called the San Francisco Bay Area home for over 20 years. Ilana holds an M.A. in Jewish Education from the Hebrew Union College–Jewish Institute of Religion, a B.A. in Educational Psychology from Universidad Anahuac; a certificate in early childhood education from UC Santa Cruz; a graduate certificate in Jewish education from the University of Cincinnati; and is a graduate of the two-year Mandel Teacher Educator Institute program. Ilana has served many roles at the Leslie Family Preschool, including 10 years as a classroom teacher as well as Curriculum Coordinator and Assistant Director of Operations.
Ilana is also fluent in English and Spanish, is conversant in Hebrew and studied Yiddish in school.
What makes the preschool so special to her? "It's my community! Community members, friends and OFJCC staff alike—I feel like they are part of my family. They're supportive. They're cheerful. They're always willing to lend a hand. It is a community that is always there for you."
Ilana lives in Mountain View with her husband and two girls, themselves both graduates of the preschool. She enjoys reading, baking, spending time with family, traveling and riding her bike.
Assistant Director, Education
Mykenzie Busser (she/her/hers) has been a proud member of the OFJCC and Leslie Family Preschool for over 25 years, working both as an educator in the classroom and as an administrator. Mykenzie focuses on bringing the educational philosophy of Reggio Emilia and Constructivist Education, Judaism and the school's vision into the classrooms and community. She works closely with the educators, children and families to develop curriculum, provide professional development and to create an engaging community built on trust, relationships and partnership.
Mykenzie is a graduate of San Jose State University with a degree in child development and is a fellow in the SHEVA Leadership Institute through the JCC Association of North America. She is a passionate educator and life-long learner that believes every child, family and educator deserves to be seen, heard and have their own unique story be told.
In Mykenzie's free time she can always be found outside in the sun, at the beach or by her pool with a good book. Her favorite thing to do is spend time with her husband Mike and her two boys, Ryan and Jake, who are both Leslie Family Preschool alumni and her dog Samson.
Assistant Director of Operations
Colleen Hahn (she/her/hers) was born and raised in the Bay Area and still resides here with her family. She received her bachelor's degree in child development with a minor in child psychology in 2015 from California State University Chico. She has been working with children for just about as long as she can remember. She has experience doing most every job within a preschool, from making snack and being a head teacher to developing curricula, enrolling families and hiring teachers. She is a Positive Discipline-certified educator with a passion for mentoring early childhood educators.
Colleen has always been a strong advocate for children learning through play and opening the door to their own learning. Her favorite thing about working in the early education field is watching children discover the world around them. One of her favorite quotes is "Children are not things to be molded, but are people to be unfolded." ~Jesse K. Lair, American educator
When she is not working, Colleen enjoys reading, going to concerts, going on adventures with her dog and cheering on all of the Bay Area sports teams!
Senior Manager, Enrollment & Administration
Anna Kuchuk began at the OFJCC in September 2012. Originally from Moldova, Anna arrived in the Bay Area in 1989 as a refugee. “Growing up as a Jew and not being able to practice—having a Jewish identity was very important to me,” she says. At Golden Gate University, Anna pursued double degrees in Accounting as well as Business Management & Human Resources. She is fluent in English and Russian, and conversant in Hebrew and Moldavian.
As Senior Manager of Enrollment and Administration, Anna is responsible for all of the preschool’s financial functions and enrollment process. Anna is the first person that most families meet at the preschool. She loves getting to see people come in and start their journey in early childhood education, as well as the intimate community and sense of family at the preschool. “When your kids are here,” she says, “They are like our own kids. We want them to grow up to be curious learners. And we want them to be mensches—good human beings—that is our goal.”
Anna lives in the South Peninsula with her husband and three children, two of whom are grown. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with family and friends, traveling and reading.
Our Specialty Educators
At the Oshman Family JCC Leslie Family Preschool, we are proud of our teaching staff's commitment to providing learning opportunities with a special focus on helping children discover and pursue their curiosity in a warm, compassionate environment.
Debbie Togliatti (she/her/hers) is celebrating over 35 years at the OFJCC. She is the Garden Pedagogista for all of the preschool and created The Giving Garden in order for children to be able to grow food and donate to a local food bank. She is the Founder and Director of the OFJCC's WISH (What's in Season Here) Program as well as the Senior Community Garden.
When she's not in the school garden, Debbie is tending to the farm she lives on or helping clients with their home gardens. In 2013, she wrote and self-published a book, Growing Jewish Values: Cultivating Your Jewish Roots in Your Own Backyard. Debbie is an avid cook and reader of mysteries.
Elan Loeb (they/them) attended Club J and J Camp when it was still on the Terman/Fletcher Campus. In high school they worked as a preschool summer camp counselor. They've returned to the OFJCC as our Music Specialist and song leader. Elan is a Cornell grad, a Kesher Fellow and co-founder of Tzedakah Songs, an organization that hosts monthly musical fundraising events for social justice causes. Elan believes that art is for everyone and loves to share the joy they find in Jewish music. As a teacher, they bring silliness, mindfulness and love into their work. In their spare time, they enjoy audiobooks, gardening and pickling things.
Cassy Christianson (she/her/hers) is a developmental specialist and consultant for families of children with special needs and learning differences. She serves on the board of directors for AbilityPath, is on the community advisory board for Stanford Healthcare, and is a founding member of Full Circle donor fund addressing the needs of Bay Area women and children. An experienced occupational therapist, educator, group facilitator and science writer, Cassy previously worked with newborns and maternal health at Lucille Salter Packard Children's Hospital. As Director of Children's Services at Gatepath, she contributed to the organization's pediatric services, outreach and community education efforts.
Cassy earned her Masters at Stanford University pursuing research in early modern European women's health. She lives in Palo Alto with her husband and three boys.
Being the PE teacher for the OFJCC Preschool represents an intersection of Jessica Guinn's (she/her/hers) lifelong passions: working with kids and nurturing physical health and well-being through movement. In addition to being a highly experienced yoga teacher, Jessica has an educational background in meditation, sports physiology and psychology. Growing up in Palo Alto, she spent many years directing summer science camps with the Junior Museum & Zoo. As a teacher, Jessica is a firm believer that we "teach from love," and incorporates playfulness and joy into all she does.
When not at the JCC, you can find Jessica at yoga, at a park, hiking or at the beach with her two sons, both of whom are OFJCC preschool kids.